InSinkErator® the world’s largest manufacturer of food waste disposers and the clear global market leader commissioned a survey in June 2013 to find out exactly what type of foods we throw away.
The study of 2,000 adults found that bread was the most common item to be thrown away with households binning 136 slices, the equivalent of around eight loaves each, or 185 million loaves across the UK each year.
Researchers found that the average household chucks 745lbs /338kgs of leftovers into the bin each year – more than 8.3 billion tonnes across the country – with bread, potatoes and lettuces the most common items to end up in the bin. Other foods that often end up in the rubbish also include 1.2 billion yoghurts, 1.1 billion pints of milk and 934 million packs of raw or uncooked meats.
And Brits over-estimate how much food they need to buy, putting too much food on their plates and fussy kids refusing to eat what has been cooked, were named as the main reasons behind the massive waste.
Packets which are too big and leaving food out of the fridge or unwrapped are also among the excuses for throwing out food.
Ashley Munden, Managing Director, Europe for InSinkErator®, said: ‘’Throwing away the odd bit of food might not seem like a lot, but when you add that up over a week or year, it’s a staggering amount.
‘’Not only is it horrible to see how much food gets wasted, both cooked and uncooked, but if you think of how much you spend buying that food in the first place, it can be quite unsettling.
‘’It can be easy to stock up when you are in the supermarket, especially if you are enticed with cheap deals or special offers, but if you don’t get around to eating that food, it just ends up as a waste of money.
‘’You either end up cooking more food than you really need to use it all up or throwing it in the bin before it’s even been prepared.’’
The study also revealed that it’s not just uneaten fruit and vegetables that fill our bins, six in ten families regularly fail to finish everything on their plates and end up scraping the left-overs into the waste bin.
And almost a fifth of all the food thrown away is made up of leftovers. Cooked food that has gone uneaten is equivalent to around three full plates of food each week.
Sixty per cent of Brits admitted they don’t always eat everything that is put in front of them with another 70 per cent saying they usually have to scrape uneaten food off their children’s plates as well.
Almost one in three said they leave food because they have simply put too much on their plate, while another 19 per cent don’t like the taste of what is put in front of them.
And when it comes to children, 41 per cent leave something because they are too fussy to eat it.
Roast dinner scraps was named the most common leftover food to end up in the bin, followed by Chinese takeaway scraps and pasta bakes.
The study also found that 46 per cent of Brits admitted they worry about the amount of food they throw away with another 56 per cent concerned about the cost.
Despite this, 55 per cent admit they know they often cook too much food for their family.
It also emerged 62 per cent of Brits think dealing with food waste is one of the most unhygienic and disliked jobs in the kitchen.
And 56 per cent see dealing with the food waste nothing but an inconvenience.
Ashley added: ‘’It is incredible how much we leave on our plates and how it all adds up. As they say as soon as you start to measure it, then you can start to do something about it; so many of us have no idea of the amount of left over food we throw away.
“Unsurprisingly, most of us hate the messy business of binning left overs! It is disgusting, dirty, an inconvenience and very unhygienic.
‘’However, there is a very easy solution that rids us all of us of this much hated task, fit a food waste disposer.
‘’They deal with all food left-overs very quickly and easily without any fuss; they are incredibly hygienic too. It releases more space in the kitchen with one less bin to find a home for, and you never have the inconvenience of going outside to the dustbin it either.
‘’It’s a very responsible way to dispose of left overs, and has a positive impact on reducing food waste going to landfill sites and therefore improving our carbon footprint.
‘’Installing a food waste disposer not only increases hygiene in the kitchen, but saves time, minimising trips to an outside bin and you are doing your bit for the environment too.’’
|Foods most often thrown away||Per household, per year||UK households, per year|
|Bread (slices)||136||3.3 billion|
|Ham/cooked meat (slices)||56||1.4 billion|
|Milk (Pints)||46||1.1 billion|
|Broccoli florets||40||984 million|
|Uncooked meat (packs)||38||934 million|
|Cauliflower (florets)||30||738 million|
Top ten most common meals to throw away
1. Roast dinner
2. Chinese takeaway
3. Pasta bake
4. Curry and rice
5. Fish and chips
6. Spaghetti bolognaise